The last few years–well, okay the last decade essentially–I’ve been involved with marketing automation and demand generation.  Originally I lead the development of the demand generation product Canterris Marketing Suite, and eventually moved over to Twist Marketing to act as a digital strategist and project manager, with an eye to implementing marketing automation tools and campaigns for clients.

While at Twist I’ve worked with other platforms, from Eloqua to Sharpspring depending on the size of project and clients needs.  One of the things that always comes up–especially for clients new to demand generation platforms–is what is lead scoring, why should we use it and how is it done?

While with Canterris I developed a workbook that helped customers determine their needs in terms of scoring leads coming to their website.  I recently dusted it off and though an updated version of it might be of value, so during the rewrite I thought I’d post some of the basic information here on my Blog to perhaps answer some of the common questions that come up.

What is Lead Scoring?

Across virtually every industry and segment, customers today are in control of the buying process. This is particularly true of the prospective customers you want to target. With on-line access to a wealth of information – from your official website to product review sites to blogs and other social media – they self-educate, identify potential vendors, and form opinions on which vendors best meet their needs. And they do all this long before they’re on your sales group’s radar. As a marketer, it’s your job to find these prospects, separate the serious buyers from the tire kickers, determine when they’re ready to start a purchase conversation, and introduce them to your sales team. How? By reading the prospects’ digital body language.

Just like body language consists of explicit gestures (thumbs up, nodding, waving and so on) and tacit cues (leaning forward in a chair, a tilt of the head, etc.), digital body language is made up of explicit and information. Using this information, you can determine a customer’s sales readiness and which action to take next. Lead scoring is how you do this.

But first, marketing and sales must agree on the definition of a qualified, or sales-ready, lead. This is essential to forming a working partnership in which marketing generates qualified leads and sales closes them. In the on-line world, a qualified lead is one that is both a fit for your products, services and strategies, and sufficiently engaged to start talking with sales. Fit is determined by the explicit information you collect: their role, region, company, industry, revenues and so on. Basically, are they and/or their company who you want to sell to? Do they have the right budget? Are they in the right country? Can they make a purchase decision? Engagement is determined by tacit information gleaned by their activity on your website or email marketing campaigns. What web pages have they viewed? What have they downloaded? What events have they registered for? Based on this information, you can gain insight into their level of interest, where they are in their purchase cycle and whether they’d be receptive to engaging with sales.

I usually recommend a Co-Dynamic lead scoring methodology—a fancy way of saying it allows companies to prioritize leads based on both explicit data, like job title, business or industry, and implicit data demonstrating prospect interest, like website visits, downloads and email campaign response. Lead scores are not fixed, but may increase or decrease over time according to prospect behaviour.

(to be continued as I update more of the workbook)…